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Something that puzzles me


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#1 Carmissimo

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 12:43 PM

The NHL owners have proposed quite a few restrictions on contracts designed to avoid deals intended to get around the cap. The problem is that some contracts are made ridiculously long and low amounts are used in the final couple of years, usually because the player has no intention of playing in those last few years.

It occurs to me that there may be an indication of why the two parties are having such a hard time sorting this mess out. They seem rather confused over the most basic concepts, If the problem is a cap hit being lowered somewhat dishonestly by tacking on essentially bogus seasons, stop averaging out the cap hit and that problem goes away. Why limit term and put in a stipulation that a contract can't vary more than an arbitrary percentage? Instead change the approach so that if the contract calls for a salary of $10M in Year 1 of a deal, the cap hit is $10M and if the salary in Year 12 is $1.5M, then the cap hit is for that season $1.5M. A team and player could ease up on the cap hit by agreeing to make the contract's salary consistent throughout the term but a player would have to play out the deal to get all his money.

To me this seems fair. If you have no intention of playing another 10 years, you have no business signing a 10-year deal that's really a sham. The best part of this approach is that it gives players and team more options. If a 23-year-old wants to commit to a team for 10 years, why should that be prevented.

The problem isn't term and it's not the variance from one year in a deal to another. The problem is that cap hit is not determined in the simplest manner possible, namely, whatever you get paid that season is what your cap hit is.

And we wonder why these folks are dangerously close to ruining another season.

#2 Artie_Gee

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 12:00 AM

The NHL owners have proposed quite a few restrictions on contracts designed to avoid deals intended to get around the cap. The problem is that some contracts are made ridiculously long and low amounts are used in the final couple of years, usually because the player has no intention of playing in those last few years.

It occurs to me that there may be an indication of why the two parties are having such a hard time sorting this mess out. They seem rather confused over the most basic concepts, If the problem is a cap hit being lowered somewhat dishonestly by tacking on essentially bogus seasons, stop averaging out the cap hit and that problem goes away. Why limit term and put in a stipulation that a contract can't vary more than an arbitrary percentage? Instead change the approach so that if the contract calls for a salary of $10M in Year 1 of a deal, the cap hit is $10M and if the salary in Year 12 is $1.5M, then the cap hit is for that season $1.5M. A team and player could ease up on the cap hit by agreeing to make the contract's salary consistent throughout the term but a player would have to play out the deal to get all his money.

To me this seems fair. If you have no intention of playing another 10 years, you have no business signing a 10-year deal that's really a sham. The best part of this approach is that it gives players and team more options. If a 23-year-old wants to commit to a team for 10 years, why should that be prevented.

The problem isn't term and it's not the variance from one year in a deal to another. The problem is that cap hit is not determined in the simplest manner possible, namely, whatever you get paid that season is what your cap hit is.

And we wonder why these folks are dangerously close to ruining another season.

I'm afraid it makes too much sense to ever be adopted into the rules.

We should also look at the terrible dilemma that the owners face. On the one hand, they want to make as much money as they can, which would include paying the players as little as possible. On the other hand, they want to win, which could include finding ways of circumventing the cap and paying certain players a crap load.

So the salary cap was brought in to make costs predictable for the owners who in turn, screw things up by offering front end loaded, long term contracts to some players. They do this knowing full well that every other owner and GM will be doing the same thing in order to remain competitive (well, except Brian Burke). The players have tried to prevent the owners from shooting themselves in the foot by agreeing to the salary cap, but to no avail.

I'm sure the owners and GM's had lots of assistance from player's agents in figuring out ways around the cap, but the sheer stupidity of it all is mind boggling.

I'm no expert on the CBA, but is it not a requirement that all contracts have to be approved by the league? If the league rejected a contract because it did not follow the intent of the cap, would it be open to legal action?

#3 CrazyCanuckEh

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 12:28 AM

Or you know, just get rid of the salary cap, then no one get's handcuffed and spending willy nilly is at the owners expense. Especially if you are the Leafs right now, with Rogers having just spent a boatload of money to essentially field a team that statistically has a 1 in 4 chance of winning the World Series next year, the Leafs icing a team with some of the best players money could buy, they wouldn't lose any money that's for sure.

#4 youngbud

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 01:24 AM

At some point they probably will have to scrap the salary cap. I know teams that don't draw the fans might be screaming foul or so called have not teams. But, in reality that is a bunch of ********! No it is, it's an excuse for the leafs and other original six clubs to give hand outs to teams like phoenix. Not only that, it only causes a vicious circle, as long as we are under the cap system and have the system of "revenue sharing" they will just continue to rely on that to get by....instead of building a team wisely like everyone else and working their way up and being SELF SUFFICIENT! They have to do away with this welfare system in the NHL, it is one of the things killing the game.

Why should the leafs be penalized because they used to be one of the top spenders in the league? Why should we suffer so gary bettman can have hockey in a desert? Know what I mean? Get rid of the cap.....the leafs and montreal and like i said before other original six teams and a handful of others, are storied franchises. If other teams don't like it man up...build a solid farm team, sign guys to fit your team agenda and work yer way up. You want to win? You get paid enough, work for it for god sakes. Just because you are not the most talented team on paper does not mean you can't win it all with a little bit of will and determination and hard luck. The la kings were no where near the most skilled team going into the last stanley cup playoffs they won didn't they? Just saying.

#5 Carmissimo

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 01:56 AM

In fairness to the ownership group, the salary cap makes sense and it does give the teams with less financial clout more of a chance to compete.

What is puzzling, though, is that if the only function of allowing the cap hit to be averaged out over the life of a contract is to provide a way around the cap, it does defeat the purpose of having one in the first place.

So kill the averaging and still allow for flexibility in other regards re contract parameters. This would be far preferable to imposing all the restrictions on contracts that the NHL owners have served up.

Really, when you think about it, why should a cap hit be based on the average value of a contract rather than be applied simply based on what a team is paying for a player in an individual season. I mean, why was this approach adopted in the first place?

#6 youngbud

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 02:51 AM

I like your line of thinking Carm, but, at the same time, does it not make more sense to have a salary cap in place ONLY if it applies to overall team payroll only? I realize some players will be worth more dollar than others and ya that makes sense, you are gonna pay more for a first line center than a fourth line center because duh the first line guy is gonna play more often. I do agree with you about front loaded contracts it should not be allowed and is technically cheating really to force your way under the cap and crunch numbers.

An individual does not make the team, the whole group of players make the team right? I think teams should be punished for knowingly circumventing the cap. How about this idea.....let's say we gave away a first round pick to a team and then when it comes to signing they lock up their guy to a 5 or 6 year deal and front load it. That said team should be penalized by giving us a first round pick BACK in the next draft. I dunno something like that. Think about it, it will be like saying you can't just hog all the good players and lock them into contracts like that without giving something back.

So you know how everyone complains about the kessel deal? Suppose they give hamilton or knight or seguin a front loaded contract? Boston should get penalized and next draft they give us a similar first round draft pick back.

#7 Carmissimo

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 04:02 AM

If you don't allow averaging out the contract, then it really doesn't matter what the term is. A team could offer to pay the same amount in each year of the contract and make that amount greater than what the player could expect in the final stages of the contract. Yet this becomes less appealing to the player who would rather make his money sooner than later. It's also the case that in doing this, the team would run the risk of having to pay more than what a player would be worth in the final stages of the contract.

This is not a bad thing, though. It accomplishes what the owners want in so much as it eliminates the sham of fake years tacked onto a contract. And it removes the objection the NHLPA justifiably has to imposing excessive limits on contracts.

Of course the NHLPA would rather not change a thing but compromise is the only way a new CBA can happen and the owners are right to want a solution to the obvious attempts to get around the cap. This approach would allow a rather mild compromise from the players' perspective and yet achieve what the owners want achieved.

#8 youngbud

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 10:12 PM

Why not draw up what I would call a guaranteed contract. Say player x is thirty years old and you think he has five maybe seven decent years of hockey left. Let's say player x is a first line forward and nearly a point a game player. They should pay him something like 6 mil no more than 7 per year. Then what happens is that contract gets "locked in". See what I'm getting at? No circumventing the cap....no paying a player to retire basically, no b.s., no stress.

What about that as a solution? why has nobody suggested "guaranteed contracts?"

#9 TuckerIntensity1

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 01:39 PM

I don't get why the 5% rule was agreed to a month and a half ago. It should be a non-issue. You can still get your long term deal, you can't circumvent the cap.

#10 Carmissimo

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 07:33 PM

If you put a limit on contract length, there is a way around it. Sign multiple contracts. If five years is the limit and you want to sign for 9, sign three consequetive three-season deals at the same time. Each contract would feature a different cap hit number, yes, but being as you would be looking at a variance allowed in each contract, the total variance start to finish would be greater than the amount the owners are asking for. If the variance allowed were, say, 15 per cent, You could have a 15 per cent variance in each contract and cause a sort of variance in that each contract could be for an adjusted amount. For example, the first contract could see a player making $10M in Year 1, $8.5M in Year 2, and $8.5M in Year 3. The cap hit would be $9M per season. The next three years you could pay out $8M in Year 1, $6.8M in Year 2, and $6.8M in Year 3. The cap hit would be $7.2M. The third contract could be for $5M in Year 1, $4,25M in Year 2, and $4.25M in Year 3. The cap hit would be $4.5M. This would result in a nine-season commitment to pay out $6.9M per season on average, i.e. $62.1M for nine seasons. Yet the cap hit, while high in Years 1 through 3, would be low in Years 7 through 9. Under the current set-up, the cap hit for such a contract would average out to $6.9M per season through the entire nine seasons. Think about that for a second. It means that under the proposal made by the owners to fix the system, a team could possibly have a $7M player playing for a cap hit of $4.5M for three seasons.

In other words, for all of the players' protestations, if a scheme like the one I have outlined, were to be implemented, this could get considerably worse for the owners. Look at it this way. If a play signed for those nine season at age 28, that player would be 36 years old, i.e. still potentially effective. One could tailor this approach to handle any goal that a team in concert with a player wished to pursue. For example, it could be flipped so that a team with a temporary cap problem could make the first contract, or the middle contract, more cap friendly, in exchange for taking up more cap space in other years. Imagine the flexibility, for instance, if an eight-season stretch was handled via four two-season deals.

To me, this shows just how little the owners really understand what they're doing. No matter what gets conjured up by the owners, I suspect that as this next CBA winds down, the owners will be lamenting that the CBA didn't protect them from themselves in the manner to which they anticipated.

Around and around and around we go. The game suffers, the fans suffer, the players, the owners. It's a mess.

#11 howiegethere

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 02:24 PM

Although the league has to approve any contract there are rules that act as guidelines and if the contract is within those rules the league is obliged to approve the deal despite the fact it is designed to circumvent the salary cap .

Obviously the rules are not stringent enough so limiting the contract lengths is a way to prevent these deals without scraping the cap system or changing the other rules . The bigger problem is the free agency rules that allow players to become free agents too soon causing the owners to lose the time and money spent on player developement before they see any returns on their investments add to that an arbitration system that allows players to walk away and force early free agency then you have a real problem of players being able to blackmail owners into giving out bigger contracts much sooner than intended by the CBA rules .
This is a mess and although I think the players should make a decent wage for their services it shouldnever be more than the market can handle . The cap system is a necessary evil to keep teams competitive but when the system is abused by players and owners alike it can not work as intended . Rich teams still want to buy the best talent and poor teams are still strugglingto ice a respectable team .
The only anomally seems to be the Leafs who can't seem to get a grip on the fact that if you don't make the same kind of backroom deals other teams are making you just can't compete so while Burke is counting on the cap system to free up talent he can grab up other teams are signing that talent with creative deals .
A simpler hard cap system would work better for the owners but not be flexible enough for the players who all want to make the most salary they can get . What is fair is simply a matter of opinion but a cap system is a necessity if the league is going to survive without downsizing .

Life's hard and it's even harder when your stupid  --(John Wayne -quote)


#12 Artie_Gee

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 06:48 PM

Then the league should merely change their constitution to make any contract designed to circumvent the cap, be illegal. If the league turned down a few contracts and forced a change, everyone would soon be following the intent of the rules. This sounds too obvious and simple so I'm sure it can't work this way. There is so much money involved that players agents would probably be taking legal action if the league tried to make them and the owners follow the rules.

#13 CrazyCanuckEh

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 02:11 AM

Howie: There are at least 10 teams losing money, and yet people seem to have something against downsizing the league to say 28 or 26 teams. What is wrong with getting rid of those bottom feeding teams that have non existent or absolutely atrocious fan bases and owners who aren't building winning teams like the Islanders and Blue Jackets? It seems like such a huge waste of money to have almost half the league losing money and relying on the other half of the league to prop up those teams through revenue sharing. That isn't to suggest that I have something against revenue sharing between the profitable teams and those that aren't making money, but I think the money should be going to teams that are having trouble breaking even, not those that are losing 5-30 million dollars a year because they have no fan support.






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